tv The Communicators CSPAN June 27, 2011 8:00pm-8:30pm EDT
there. whether you're most concerned as many conservatives may be about protecting national defense or most concerned as many liberals are about protecting the entitlement programs, you ought to insist as i have have insisted we will not raise the debt limit until congress passed a balanced budget amendment to the u.s. institution. that's why i'm pleased to support the balanced pledge and continue to take this position in addition to standing firm on my position that we ought not even consider any tax increase at a time when we can least forward it. thank you very much, mr. president, i suggest the absence of a quorum. >> tonight on "the communicators" doug herzog president of the entertainment group and kevin leddy of time warner cable talk about their industry.
>> this week on "the communicators" doug herzog of mtv and kevin leddy of time warner cable discuss their companies and developments in the television industry. >> welcome, doug herzog, here at the cable show in chicago. tell me about your job first of all. >> guest: my job? >> host: yeah. >> guest: you know, i have one the best jobs in television. certainly perfect job for me. i get to oversee, you know, three brands that are about that, you know, i would be a viewer of if i didn't work there, and i get to work with a group of tremendously talented and creative people, and it's -- having three is follow-up for me
because, you know, sure i have add, and i can move from one thing to the next quickly, and it's great fun. i oversee all three businesses, and you know, all the programming and business and marketing aspects, and it's a lot of fun. i love managing the process and people and the great brands. >> host: we're across from your booth there. we're neighbors c-span, but tell people the three channels you manage? >> guest: comedy central, spike tv, and tvland. >> host: how is it different? >> three brands and three audiences. comedy is generally young men, and spike targeting at men who are slightly older, comedy is for guys, spike is more men, and tvland is for adults.
>> comedy and spike have a crossover, but tvland is 50/50. >> host: you are honored today and congratlations on that. >> guest: thank you very much. >> host: you've been in business a long time. >> guest: 33 years. i was talking about covering the first show i ever went to working with the cable news nrk, and ed turner was looking to leave. >> host: we seem to be on the precipice and you hear again and hear, the explosion and merger of the internet and traditional television, whatever that is today. how do you hope to exploit that as all of these services integrate and also explode? >> guest: you know, that's the question on everybody's mind. that's a subject we're all discussing every day endlessly, but i know i'm pretty certain
that the answer is it all involves around programming, an original program so none of these platforms mean anything without programming, and without content so whether you're a cable operator or satellite distributer or netflix or hulu or whoever you are, you need content. as long as we have great compelling content, we'll ultimately be okay, and they want more of it than ever, and they want it in many different ways as possible. how that gets figured out and make money doing that, i think we'll get there, but, again, the key is creating the content, and, you know, i have to agree that content is king. >> host: the choices available to people, i mean, you built grants for 30 years and established it because it was
narrower when we got in the business, but when you look at the amount of choice available and the multiple platforms especially younger people use, how do you perceive you can establish new brands? >> guest: i think the established brands are paramount in helping us to establish new brands or subbrands, you know? whereas, you know, the broadcast networks turned into like, you know, barker channels at this point where people are not showing up at eight o'clock anymore to watch the regular show, but they had hear about it and ultimately get there. i feel the comedy centrals, mtv's, the espn's, whatever it is, we still got the reach and power to market in a way that really can't be challenged at this point. >> host: the royalty of the established viewership? >> guest: i think there's an
advantage of the only way you can do it, and there's those guys who break out of the pack of millions, the sort of barrier for entry on the internet is not very great, but then you got to fight it. it's like panning for gold. there's things that break out over time, something great will happen there, and explode up but it's not going to be everybody, and there's a lot of competition once they rise up and in terms of the great established brands of the cable world, and there's others lying around. >> host: there's growing pains at this point, intellectual property challenges, issues laid out in the courts. do you assume we'll get passed the growing pains or get more complex? >> guest: we'll continue to move pass them on an issue-by-issue basis. it peoples to me --
it feels to me every day you wake up there's a new issue. i feel like that's an ongoing, you know, sort of evolution. i'm not -- you know, it felt like there was a period over the last sort of -- i don't know, 15 years where we were in this place where everything was -- we understood where everything was going and going to be, and then at some point the world exploded on us, and that's going to be going on for the next several years, a lot of disruption, but, you know, i think we'll get there. you know, this is -- this is an industry with great leadership and a lot of smart people doing a lot of smart things, and, you know, to date i feel like the right steps are being taken and no one is running off, and, you know, in a way that, you know, puts everything in jeopardy. >> host: how does that contrast purchase of nbc and the merger of the two of the broadcast business and other
channels, how does that change the competitive landscape for you? >> guest: you know, i mean, in terms of how we approach them as distributers which is our relationship with them, you know, we're going to assume, you know, that we will, you know, continue to have the relationship we had overall. we're, you know, because we're a pure content company, and we're very comfortable being a pure content company, and that's what we want to be, you know, we look at that, and say, okay, they are big with a lot of moving pieces. we'll do what we're doing, and in that regard, we should be able to maintain the kind of relationship we had with them traditionally where we're a content provider and they are a distributer. you know, may might be looking at a differently with the business they are now in, and we'll see how that works out overtime, but, you know, how we view ourselves, not a great change. >> host: access to their customers with programs services they are responsible for?
>> guest: again, if you continue to do what we have done historically which is create great brands and people want, but just always is the key. it wins every day. giving people what they want, and, you know everything else be damned. >> host: you may have referenced earlier on this, but they think the cable industry has the potential for growth of the past services. what's your view on their game plan and how it affects you? >> guest: you know, right now, you know, we're just taking it one step at a time with them, and, you know, sort of very short -- looking at everything short term. we'll see where it goes down the line. as a programmer, you know, i'm concerned with are they competing with me in making an original program one day? original programs, are they competing with me on that level? we look and talk about that quite a bit. in terms ofs, you know, viewing them as a distributer, you know
k like i said, it's a one day at a time thing. we have tremendous relationships in the salt lite and cable community, and those are very important to us and a big part of our business, and netflix has gone up. >> host: in the copyright area, how concerned are you about piracy on an international business if you are an established brand, and what are you looking for from washington in that regard? >> guest: reminds me of the great -- a big issue for us is that viacom and paramount pictures a -- is a big leader of pursuing people who infringe on their copyrights and viacom is leading the charge. look at the big issue, and, you know, it's been a little bit like you find the leak, plug it up, and then there's another one, you know, springing up, but, you know, we're at it, diligent about it, and it's
something that's got to be conquered and managed going forward because, you know, making sure everything gets paid for the content is, you know, that's the business. without it, we don't have one. >> host: another aspect is getting paid for it, being able to track who uses your services on the platforms. what is your message to neilson about getting with the program, being able to understand actually where the eyeballs are? >> guest: another big issue. we want to be where the audience is, and the audience is clearly beginning to, you know, use and interact and view the content on various platforms in various ways, and it's incumbent upon us and nelson to get credit for that because, again, that's how we keep this business healthy and vibrant and continue to invest in our programming so we make more great con didn't. >> host: from the opening question of brian roberts head of comcast demonstrated
lightning fast speed of infinity, smart program -- [inaudible] and the connection with facebook and other special app platforms. what does that mean for you with regard to social media services help you expand your brand? >> guest: that's incredibly exciting. we are -- of course, all of our brands and the company, we are great fans and users of social media, and we see it as an enormous tool in order to market what we're doing, to communicate with the audience to have a back and forth dialogue with the audience, and you know, whether it's a paramount pictures feature, i'm sure you read a lot about "super8" and via twitter or a show we launched last night, "happily divorced" we had
on tv land via twitter and facebook. that's where the audience is, engaged with the processes. we're there, want to be there, i think it's a great tool. it's fascinating as a consumer, and, you know, from a business standpoint, there's a lot of great opportunities. you know, come dale central with a young guy audience, we've seen ourselves as we market things moving away from tradition gnat market -- traditional markets, less about billboards and print magazines and more so online and in social media which is where that is. >> host: over your shoulder at the booth is a large picture of jon stuart of our network. >> he looms large over my shoulder at all times. >> host: happy to hear that. last number our network carried the stuart rally at the mall in washington. getting into a presidential election. talk about your network plans to be involved and active in the
upcoming election? >> guest: well, you know, active to the point where, you know -- you know, it's something of great interest to john and steve and the audiences. we have this semiannual -- not semiannual, we focus on two annuals -- biannual, thank you. we have a biannual thing we call indecision so the next round of indecision is coming up. that's what we call the coverage. john and steve will be out there. they have become very important stops for those looking to send a message and the comedy channel is incredible enough, but they're in the thick ever -- of it. you know, we are there to make people laugh. we are there to look at the world and the process and ultimately make fun of it, and that's what they'll be doing, but we look forward to it.
having an election year on comedy central is our idea of an olympic year. we got a lot of attention, mu viewers come to us because like the olympics, there's the big race, and it's a good time for us. >> host: this new book coming outs by ben shapiro. you are among the several programming executives. he makes the case there's not enough conservatives presented. do you agree with that charge on his part, and are you concerned that the gop has or the people that follow them might bring up this as an issue in the election year? >> guest: yeah -- i'm not sure i agree with him completely, you know, very specific view, and well, that becomes an issue, you know, it's hard for me to imagine with everything going on in the world that that's where
folks focus, but only time tells. >> host: as we close since you're talking to c-span, telg me about your concerns about washington and how they affect your business or what messages you have for them. >> guest: oh, gosh. i'm not sure i have anything i would specifically say to washington except that, you know, it's a -- you know, it's a complicated era we're moving into in terms of the new platforms, disruptions, and all the issues, you know, facing us, and we've had a tremendous relationship, you know, over the past 30 years, and has helped this industry build itself up to the place where it is today, and, you know, we're not done yet and certainly look forward to their partnership and cooperation and support going forward and taking, you know, this industry to the next level over the next 30 years. >> host: congratulations on
your award, and thank you for spending time with us. >> thank you. >> host: we are on the floor of the 2011 cable tv convention in chicago with kevin leddy who has been in the business for more than 30 years; is that correct? >> guest: a little bit more, about 34. >> host: hard to be reminded of the time going by. i wanted to start there because of your perspective of how the business changed over the years. where is it as a business right now? >> guest: it's a terrific business, certainly with time warner cable. we spun off of time warner about three years ago. the stock prices jumped 200% when we jumped off, revenue is up, cash flow is up, commercial business is going great, business is going great. it's a great time to be in cable. >> host: tell me about your specific job? >> guest: i have a lengthy title, executive vice president of technology policy and product management, and i work for the
cto of the company, mike lajoie, and my real day-to-day responsibilities are to create a long term technology strategy for the company that supports all the new products and services we want to introduce in the next few years. >> host: time warner made a lot of headlines this year announcing your new app for ipad. can you talk about what the goal of that is and where it is at this point? >> guest: the ipad app is part of a much broader goal. the goal of our video product strategy is for any, and you heard other companies talk about that, but any con cement on any device any time, any wear, and we made great progress with that strategy over the last few years. one of the key enablers of the key strategy is better navigation, and that better-and-a-halfization come
-- navigation comes from consumer electronic devices to navigate the content, so we're pursuing both, improving navigation on the subtops by building a high speed data pipe so that they can do functions accessed from the cloud. they can do search functions, programming more easily, downloads, better graphics, a better digital experience, but the other half of that strategy is use the power of consumer electronics devices so ipads have tremendous capability, a big process in them, a lot of graphics capability, a beautiful visual display so customers can use an ipad to view our content, but more and more, they use ipads to navigate the content that's available to them. they'll have a better guide available through the ipad.
you'll be able to use the ipad as a remote control, and you'll be able to find what you want more easily. >> host: when you use the word "ipad" is that general for tablets or ipad specific? >> guest: started with the ipad, but we'll serve lots of other tablets like samsung on their tablets, the android tablets, expand to iphones and droid phones and creating a video portal accessible through pc. >> host: the numbers i have that are just a couple weeks old since the lunch, not that long ago, you got 360,000 people signing up for the ipad app? >> guest: the downloads are over 500,000. > host: did that exceed your exceptions? >> yes, did it. it's not always clear to customers whether it's time warn
ire customers or not, but a very large percentage of the people who have ipads in our foot print have down loaded the application and using it more and more all the time. >> host: how many channels are available on it? >> guest: 80 channels on it today. we don't have the local broadcast channels available yet or sports programming. if we add more sports and local broadcasters, we expect the users to go up. >> host: second largest affiliate for c-span, but it's not been without large bumps. for example, a lawsuit from viacom, and your job involves policy and technology. are you concerned about the initial issues on content on the
providers' part? >> guest: no, i can't speak much about that issue because we're in the lawsuit, but we believer we have the right to stream content on a customer's phone, acting like an additional outlet, any other screen in the house. >> host: overtime you expect the industry will come to revolution? >> guest: yes, i think you're right, it will. >> host: one of the things we're talking about here is mon monotyping this so you can capture the people using this for advertising purposes. how do you see that progressing? >> guest: i think we need to report the viewership so working with neilson for an application to report that viewership so the network can get credit for it on monetize it through advertising. that's an important part of getting on to the other devices. >> host: is it a technology solution from neilson? how do you see that as being addressed? >> guest: i'm not sure, but i think the most straightforward
way to do is it downlote an application to the ipad and monitor. >> host: your boss, glenn britt, has been quoted talking about the fact that broadband is trying to be the major business for time warner in the years ahead and you can see yourself beginning to serve broadband-only customers. can you talk about the strategy in regards that and your work with that strategy? >> guest: i think video is still the foundation of the business. we have to continue to improve video and it's the main reason customers have our services in their home. we'll do everything we can to remain very competitive on our video offerings, but there are some customers, for example, directv and others who get
video internet access. we'll enable that too out of the 14.5 million customer relationships today, 2 million customers only take high speed data from us already. >> host: back to the use of the tablet as oughts navigation tool. can you talk to me a little about that concept and how it's progressing? >> guest: yeah. a lot comes back to what i was talking about a minute ago which is using cloud-based computing to enhance navigation. we have been constrained in our navigators by the capabilities outside our box which have good processers in them, but limited graphics capability, but if we can start to access servers, then we can do much more intelligent navigation, give customers a lot more information about the programming that they are viewing.
govern our industry have talked about privacy for years, so we've always been very, very careful about it. if we provide a recommendation engine for customers, it will be on an op-in basis. >> host: do you perceive a day there's no longer boxes in people's homes? >> guest: yeah, that's the other half of what we're demonstrating at the show this week. we have our services streaming directly to a samsung television and a sony television. you get over to the cable in that area, the television manufacturers are created what they call connected tvs or smart tvs. samsung has browsers in them, and similar to the ipad, we can create applications with our navigator to download to the televisions. today, we're streaming 80 channels in the demonstration, 80 channels going to the ipad
also go to the samsung television. that samsung television can also access the consent that's stored on the dvr's in a customer's home so you don't need a box on that tv, and the sony television is accessing our video-on-demand directly through the network too without a box. >> host: where is all of that integration and innovation originating? is it the consumer electronic manufacturers? is it some working group bringing the parties together? can you tell me how it's developed? >> guest: we're both in competitive industries so working out the partnerships in large forums is difficult, but individually ce with partner with them and work these things out so we're working with sony directly and samsung directly, but i can't imagine they want to sit down together and work these things out.
>> host: time warner and cable goes directly to the manufacturers with the innovations. >> guest: that's right. >> host: you already explain the the ipad app, the confusion on the part of customers things only available in the service area. how does this play forward as individual companies such as yourself develops new applications that are not widely available? >> guest: i think you're going to see lots of different applications on these televisions and not all of them will be available to all customers in all parts of the country, but we can, just as we do with the ipad, we can download an application to the samsung television that are in our foot print. i think it will be relatively clear to customers. >> host: how much are you keeping an any on what other cable operators are developing in the area of new products and saying, hearst, i'd like --
hey, i'd like to do that too. comcast's announcements with skype of video television calls over the tv. are you looking for ideas to put in your own company? >> guest: absolutely. we'll take ideas from anybody including the competitor ins and other cable companies. i like the skype application, and we're meeting with tom from skype as well to see if we can do it too. >> host: social media, an area that's emerging. how do you see social media applications deployed in your service areas and enhancing your business? >> guest: it's another part of smart and intelligent navigation. you can either have programming to better yourself bissed on the additional information we giver you or recommendation engyps that we talked about or you can